How Much Do I Want To Spend on Housing?

I’ve been reading and listening to a ton of personal finance blogs and podcasts lately. Namely, Mad Fientist, the YNAB podcast, and starting to dip into MMM.

I’m trying to wrap my head around if I want to be spending 25% of my income on my house. I realize that the “rule” is that it’s okay to spend 30% or under on rent/mortgage. At the same time, in a way, I want to be in emergency mode and pay off my student loans.

Generally, I’m in a pretty good place financially (i.e. I can “afford” my house, have a good credit score). I’ve been relatively frugal my whole life, have always kept a job or three, and had financial support throughout college. But I have had two recent debts that have significantly slowed me down. I also still have student loans to pay off (though they should be paid off by the time I’m 30). I’m looking at those pay-off dates years in the future and knowing that I will certainly get sick or hurt and something in my house will break before those days arrive. So maybe 25-30% is okay, but that doesn’t mean it’s optimal in my mind.

I also realize that I’m reading and listening to a lot of material geared towards those who have paid off their debts or are close to having done so and, therefore, have higher savings rates. I’m just starting to research this particular area of personal finance, though. It’s something I’ve never considered before. I’ve never imagined a life where I didn’t buy a house. It’s such a weird status-quo thing that I didn’t question, similar to marriage and other activities that encourage spending.

Maybe instead of Googling, “how much should I spend on housing,” I should be asking myself “how much do I want to spend on housing?